When the average person is charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both, they face a variety of consequences, including:
- Jail time
- A fine
- Probation, and
- The loss of driving privileges.
These consequences are difficult enough. However, when a nurse gets a DUI charge, the consequences may also involve the Georgia Board of Nursing.
Mandatory DUI Reporting Requirements for Georgia Nurses
Nurses are licensed by the state of Georgia. As such, there are certain mandatory reporting requirements. For example, those holding a license as a nurse must report any of the following types of convictions to the Board of Nursing:
- Any felony
- Any crime involving moral turpitude
- Federal crimes related to controlled substances
- State laws related to controlled substances
- Crimes involving dangerous drugs.
Any of these events must be reported, whether they occurred in Georgia, another state, a different U. S. territory, or another country. A conviction of any of these offenses must be reported, even if the person charged entered a plea of nolo contendere, also referred to as a “no contest” plea.
Issues with Chemical Dependency
In addition to mandatory reporting for certain criminal convictions, there is a separate reporting requirement for:
- registered professional nurses,
- advanced practice registered nurses,
- licensed undergraduate nurses, and
- licensed practical nurses.
It must be reported to the Board of Nursing if a practicing nurse fails to use reasonable skill and safety due to the use of narcotics, drugs, alcohol, or chemicals. Any past failures for the same reason must also be reported.
Georgia Board of Nursing Actions against a Person Arrested for or Convicted of DUI
Upon receiving a report of a conviction or chemical dependency problem, the Board of Nursing has the authority to refuse to grant a license, revoke a current license, or discipline the licensee.
When evaluating the appropriate response to a report, the Board, when it has reasonable grounds to do so, may require a licensee or applicant to submit to an examination. This examination may be either a mental exam or a physical exam by a Board-approved health care professional. The results of the examination are admissible in hearings before the Board.
Georgia Board of Nursing & the Medical Exam
Typically the results of a physical or mental medical examination would not be subject to disclosure without a person's specific consent. This rule, however, does not stand in cases where the Board of Nursing requests the exam. When someone receives a license to practice nursing or applies for a license to practice nursing, the law considers this an act of giving consent to submit to a physical or mental exam if asked. The law further considers such an application as consent to the admissibility of the results in a hearing before the Board of Nursing. Unlike medical exams in general, licensed nurses and applicants may not invoke their general right to privileged communications with their healthcare professional under these circumstances.
In addition, the Board may obtain and review any and all records relating to the physical or mental condition of an applicant or licensee while considering whether one can obtain or maintain a license. Just as with new examinations, medical records, including psychiatric records, are deemed admissible at a hearing before the board. The licensee or applicant does not have the right to object on the grounds of admissibility of the records for the purpose of the hearing.
Can You Refuse a Medical Examination?
When the Board of Nursing orders a licensee or applicant to submit to a physical or mental exam, the applicant or licensee is expected to comply. Unless their failure to comply is due to circumstances beyond the applicant or licensee's control, a failure to cooperate could result in the Board entering a final order without the requisite mental or physical exam.
Factors GA Nursing Board Takes into Consideration
When making the decision to deny an applicant a license to practice nursing or to revoke a license, the Board considers a number of different facts and circumstances, including:
- An actual criminal conviction, including a no contest plea
- First offender treatment without adjudication of guilt
- The withholding of an adjudication of guilt
- Conduct that displays an inability to practice with reasonable skill and safety due to the use of drugs, alcohol, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material.
If the Board determines disciple is merited under the specific facts and conditions present, the Board has several options, including:
- Refusing to grant a license to an applicant
- Revoking the license of a licensee
- Public reprimand
- Private reprimand
- Suspension of license for a definite period of time with conditions for the restoration of the license
- Suspension of license for an indefinite period of time with conditions for the restoration of the license
- Limitations on the license to practice nursing
- Restrictions on the license to practice nursing
- Delay determining a penalty or disposition, pending an applicant or licensee's submission to directed care, counseling or treatment
- A $500 fine or
- Costs to reimburse the Board for conducting the investigation and disciplinary proceedings.
GA Nursing License Revocation or Denial
If the Board revokes a license or denies a license to practice nursing, the licensee or applicant has rights. At reasonable intervals, an applicant or licensee can either resume practicing or begin practicing with reasonable skill and safety.
Roswell-Alpharetta DUI Convictions Have Serious Consequences for Georgia Nurses
DUI convictions have serious consequences for everyone. However, for those in the nursing profession, the consequences are even more serious. There are many ways to challenge a DUI charge in court, from getting evidence suppressed to challenging the breathalyzer, and more. A Roswell DUI attorney familiar with the ways to challenge DUI cases can help. Contact us today.